When most people hear the word audit, they naturally get pretty nervous. Perhaps they are envisioning men in black sunglasses snooping through their financials looking for an error that can land them with a huge fine or worse. Luckily an SEO audit isn’t scary at all. In this ultimate guide, I will be taking you through every single tool and strategy you need to use to make sure your site is optimised to perfection.
Let’s jump in.
What is an SEO Audit?
If you have ever contacted an SEO consultant chances are they recommended an extensive and often expensive audit of your website. (Not to brag, but Pearl Lemon does it for FREE). If you are wondering what that entails and if you need one, keep reading.
There are 3 major things to look for when performing an SEO audit:
- Hosting and Indexing
- Content, Keywords, and Metas
- Links and External References
Here is a friendly rundown of a typical SEO audit checklist:
- On-Page SEO
- Crawl Your Whole Site
- Site Architecture
- Technical SEO
- Responsive Pages
- International SEO
How to Do an SEO Audit
Going in order, let’s now take a look at how to do an SEO audit in each of these categories.
On-page SEO includes everything from optimizing your content to titles, meta descriptions, alt-text, and much more. There are so many items that should be on your on-page SEO checklist. For the scope of this article here are the top five you should be taking care of regularly (BONUS – I have added FREE SEO audit tools to help you out)
Titles – Everyone needs to increase their CTR – so to grab attention, make sure each title has your best keyword in it – this is for your users and crawling as well. This means that titles should relate to the H1 tag as well.
I love the OnPage SEO checker from SEMRush. It’s FREE and easy and gives you a wealth of information. Also, a good place to make sure your meta descriptions are on point.
URL – This is often overlooked despite being critical to ranking, crawling, and traffic. Use a SiteAudit tool to ensure your URLs have no 404 errors or redirects. You can and should fix each URL to have about 3-5 words without those generic alpha-numeric bits and bobs in it.
Keywords – No SEO checklist would be complete without mention of these often misunderstood wonders. In the olden days, these guys were stuffed here and there to rank, but this is a BIG non-no today. Instead, strong keywords are about semantics and context. Long-tail keywords utilized in the first 150 words is ideal.
There are so many great keyword tools out there, but Ahrefs is brilliant but not free. Two of the best SEO audit tools you can use are Keyword Magic Tool from SEMRush. It is insanely easy. Just enter a keyword and enjoy easy to read analytics from KDs to CPC’s this tool is FREE gold.
H1 and H3
Your content may be great but if your format is boring chances are it won’t be read. Using bulleted lists and numbered points will make your site easily accessible and informative.
Try this when you create new content.
- H1 – Title – H1
- Main content related to H1
- H2 – Subtitle – H2
- Content related to H2
Video Content and Images
If you don’t have video and images throughout your website chances are your rankings are not so strong. All types of visual content grab and capture attention. Technically it doesn’t affect your SEO, but it will invite more traffic which is always a plus.
Thanks to Googe, Bing, and Yahoo, you can use fast and easy algorithms that will crawl through your site and search for relevance and how useable your site is. Some factors they take not of would be:
- How much time people spend on your site
- How many total backlinks you have
- Bounce Rate
- Length of your content
- Anchor keywords
- Meta keywords
- Direct website visits
- Referring IPs
- Site Security or HTTPS
As you can see, each of these can tell you a lot about how well your site is performing and supporting your community. Once complete your site will get a rank which tells you where you can be found on the SERP. It goes without saying that the higher you are, the more traffic and visitors you will have.
An SEO audit is not a one and done task but rather an ongoing process (we recommend a monthly check-in) to make sure your site is working properly. Doing these micro-audits will ensure your site has no duplicate content or other red flags.
So far, we have already mentioned various items that are a part of the umbrella term of technical SEO. Here is another handy checklist to make sure all your bases are covered as well as the best SEO audit tools for a technical SEO audit available.
- Screaming Frog – the perfect tool to crawl through every nook and cranny just like a Search Engine! You get 500 pages for FREE
- Pingdom – clever name for a helpful tool, the Pingdom DNS check will help you eliminate any DNS errors
- Google Search Console – free and easy this tool will help you fix broken links, 404 errors and other major technical problems
Here are some important things to check off when doing a technical SEO audit.
This is important for SEO because it increases crawlability, makes sure your site is 4 or fewer clicks from your homepage and lets visitors find you easily. Check out free tools on Moz, Screaming Frog, and SEMRush.
This important SEO element is a major ranking factor. These days more than ever, security is of the utmost importance. With more and more people using the digital space assuring your visitors that their info is safe on your site as well as knowing you are protected from cybercrimes is a must.
Being able to move your site to an HTTPS is not so easy. I recommend keeping it easy and getting an SEO professional to take care of this for you straight away.
If you run a business that needs to support multiple languages, do NOT forget this. This should be a part of any SEO audit checklist, and there are some free SEO audit tools you can use to help you out.
International SEO, in a nutshell, refers to optimizing your site to target specific countries and languages. Sites like Moz offer great tools to make sure your international SEO is properly organized. Some things you will learn to do include:
- Hreflang tags
- Proper URL structures
- gTLD for languages
- ccTLD – the two-letter codes for countries used by Google
You can read more about international SEO HERE.
If you have made it this far OR if you skimmed through looking for all the FREE goodies, here are a few more tips you should be using for the ultimate optimization:
- Ecommerce SEO – this mega-niche can be very lucrative, but without the proper SEO, your products may as well not exist. Whether you sell on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or Walmart, make sure your SEO audit carefully reviews each element.
- CMS – these handy platforms also offer SEO and once fine-tuned will up your visibility and ranking
- Link building – I mentioned broken links as part of any audit, but building links is also imperative. Having high-quality backlinks get you more referral traffic
Last but not least….
Thousands of words could be written on the importance of original, relevant, and great content but for the sake of clarity, let’s keep it simple.
When it comes to content for your site, you have to think beyond what you want to say. Your content should preemptively answer questions your visitors are thinking, be visually interesting, with engaging information with your companies messaging and branding.
Content may seem easy, but it actually takes quite a bit of expertise to balance interesting content with critical SEO elements like keywords, links, and various media to maintain interest. Speaking of content here is a quick wrap up in case you like to skim.
If you want your site to get increased organic traffic and climb the ranks on SERPs get auditing immediately. SEO consultants can perform SEO audits for your site and provide you with a detailed list of everything you need to know. Once you have your SEO audit checklist, you can choose to optimize each item yourself or conveniently outsource it to the experts. To get your FREE SEO audit today, click HERE.